I have been a Clio user for about 6 years but recently made the switch to Actionstep. http://www.actionstep.com. The move has been expensive, relatively, both in terms of cost and time, but we think in the long term the investment will be worth it. I think any shift from one client management service to another is going to involve some down time, so I don’t think there is anything unique in our experience on this point. We choose to use an outside service for much of the work (after trying to do it ourselves first – bad idea) and had to make some software upgrades, which is why I say it was expensive. The total cost was not considerable but for a small practice the cost was noticeable.
Key features that drew our attention were the ability to integrate Hot Docs (document automation), custom work flows that drive matters to completion (prepackaged work flows can be acquired if you don’t want to build them, or you can have someone build them for you (which is what we are doing)) and full integration with email. Additionally, the ability to create a number of customized data entry fields for tracking client data is handy, though Clio supports this too. The data shift was painful but with the help of an outside service provider, we survived. My primary point in making this post is that if you are just getting started in your practice, make sure you consider Actionstep as an alternative. If you manage a lot of staff, Actionstep’s workflows also might be a good reason to consider it as an alternative to Clio.
I really enjoyed the ease of Clio and its overall simplicity but now need something more robust.